Shellharbour FC started life in the Illawarra Premier League in fine style are accounting for Tarrawanna Blueys 2-0 in their opening match of the new season. Former Bluey, Jake Levy opened the scoring before Woon Sub Sim doubled their lead. The scoreline perhaps flattered the Blueys with Shellharbour blowing a number of guilt edged chances throughout the game.

After recently undergoing some rebranding and securing promotion to the Illawarra Premier League, Shellharbour FC kicked off their campaign in fine style in front of a healthy crowd at Barrack Heights Sportsground.

The Blueys started the match with high intensity and the first opportunity presented itself as early as the fifth minute. Daniel Merola whizzed a dangerous ball across from the left to Brody Page however Taylor McDonald, Luke Debrot and Cristopher Fuentes collectively all converged to smother the shot.

Shellharbour’s first real chance fell to Tommy Markovski on ten minutes. From a corner kick, McDonald’s flick on found Markovski on the far post. He took a touch but his volley was blasted over the bar from ten yards out.

The home side pegged Tarrawanna back and forced a number of turnovers in midfield as both teams tried to assert their authority on the game.

It was Shellharbour though that hit the lead (and perhaps deservedly so) when some neat footwork from Markovski turned his opponent before he sent a low drive across goal that found former Bluey, Jake Levy lurking on the far post. He thundered the ball into goal from close range to give the home side the lead on 21 minutes.

On half an hour, a cross from the right from Julian Minutillo was a little long, however it found Markovski out wide. He cut in and drove the ball through a crowd of players that thumped off the far post.

Just a few minutes later, Minutillo’s persistence nearly paid dividends when he chased down a loose ball before driving towards goal before blasting over the bar from a narrow angle.

Shellharbour were turning the screws on Tarrawanna as they continuously threatened goal and pressed high. Their effort was further rewarded when Zac Mazevski forced a turnover deep in the opposition half. The ball fell nicely to Woon Sub Sim who ran onto it and comfortably slid it under Jackson Cracknell to make it two on 41 minutes.

The Blueys almost pulled a goal back with the last play before half time when a neat free kick was floated over the Shellharbour defence finding Mitchell Cooper on the far post however a desperate lunging tackle from Travis Oughtred blocked the effort.

The second half pressure didn’t let up from the home side and on 54 minutes, Mazevski’s strength held off a defender as he went one on one with Cracknall. His deft touch though floated just wide.

The home side were queuing up as a failed clearance fell nicely to McDonald whose crack flew wide on 60 minutes.

Ten minutes later and almost a spitting image of the opening goal, Markovski found some space on the left as he squared across goal for Delbanco who sliced his shot wide. The home side were guilty of missing some very good opportunities to close the game.

On 74 minutes, Mazevski again showed strength to bump off a defensive challenge before setting his sights in goal however Cracknall was equal to it as he pounced to smother his heavy touch.

Tarrawanna did a lot of defending the second half however a fortunate bounce on the edge of the box saw Benjamin Spruce hook his shot wide as a goal there had the prospect of unsettling the home side.

The last ten minutes saw Youth sharpshooter Jayden Branovski come on and carve himself out a good opportunity however uncharacteristically, he got a little goal shy as his effort appeared neither a shot or cross with yet another opportunity lost.

Cracknall did incredibly well to limit the scoring as he pulled off a strong save off Markovski late in the game.


Shelharbour Coach Rod Williams had some mixed emotions post game.

I’m happy with the three points and the way we played however, I would have expected a couple of extra goals given our possession and chances.

With up to four players unavailable in Round 1, Shellharbour will be looking to build on this result as they hope to do more than make up the numbers this year. They face Corrimal Rangers next week. Tarrawanna on the other hand also had a number of players unavailable this week and will take some positives from the game as they tackle Olympic next weekend.

Match Stats

Report by Bobby Mazevski
Photos courtesy of Graham Brown @Gragrapix

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